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I know I will get a bunch of different opinions here but I will ask.....I am not new to Line 6 at all but just new to Variax. I have looked up various threads and  lot of them are older so before I buy, I would like current opinions. Are the JTV American's worth that much more money? Are the Shuriken's worth it? I will steer clear of the Variax Standards but wonder about the Korean JTV's. In the past I have read different opinions on changing out the necks on the JTVs and now that enough time has gone by, is this a good idea?

I was thinking about using my normal guitar for most of the gig but having a Variax for some minor acoustic stuff, sitar parts, open G tuning for stone'ish stuff, open D for slide, etc. So using it for this, would the American made be that worthwhile or would the Korean made JTV's be good enough?

Any thoughts would be great.

thanks in advance.

rick

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I've owned a Korean JTV-59 for several years now and it has never had a problem. Plays great. I changed out the frets (found the factory Jumbos too big) but the neck has been fine. I can't really comment on the difference with an American made but since you're not using it as your main guitar I think you could save yourself a lot of $$ and not sacrifice much in terms of quality. The audience sure won't be able to tell the difference - they use the same electronics.

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It would be nice to use the USA JTV as my main guitar, but I like my main guitars already so I am not sure I would want to change that out. You made a great point about the audience not knowing the difference, although I would like to go between the vaiax and magnetic in the same song. How do you find the vaiax magnetics? is it an easy swap putting say dimarzios in the Variax if I wanted to swap them out?

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Easier to use Workbench HD for getting other pick-up sound instead of physically changing them out.

 

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Are you saying that instead of using Dimarzios or Duncans, etc. for magnetics that I can use some kind of virtual pickup?

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Commenting on the original question here, not the mag pickups swap question...

 

I have a Korean JTV-59 and it's similar in weight, neck size & shape, etc., to my Les Paul Deluxe. No surprises there, because it's built pretty much to emulate a Gibson solidbody. It's pretty well-constructed and plays easily enough, right out of the box. I've never taken it in for a pro setup after receiving it from Sweetwater years ago. When I got it, I was accustomed to playing either a Strat Plus Deluxe, or my original Variax, which became known as the Variax 500. I didn't 'take' to the '59 right away, and didn't play it much for the first several years of ownership. 

 

I'm mostly a bedroom player, but I took over temporarily for a sick guitar player a couple of years ago, and found out that my Strat needed fretwork, and the Variax 500 had developed an reliability problem, so I started acclimating myself to the JTV. By this time, it had sat unused for a long time, and the battery wasn't good at holding a charge, so I played all of my gigs using the stock mag pickups. And I was satisfied with them. (not a pro, or real picky -- they were fine for my purposes)

 

I'd love to have an American JTV, but there's no way it can be THAT MUCH better than the one that I have. Not for that big difference in $. And I don't care if the audience knew whether it was from Korea or made in the U.S. Did it sound good? Did they like what they heard? Did I have fun playing for them? Those are the important things, not where its made or how much it costs.

 

 

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2 hours ago, rwinking said:

Are the JTV American's worth that much more money?

 

An emphatic, "No". 4x the price for a quarter-sawn neck and a few extra colors to choose from? No thanks...

 

Quote

 

Are the Shuriken's worth it?

 

If you like the djent-y modern look, then sure... but just like all the others, the modeling is the same no matter what you choose.

 

Quote

In the past I have read different opinions on changing out the necks on the JTVs and now that enough time has gone by, is this a good idea?

 

I probably wouldn't play my 69 at all if I hadn't replaced the neck with a Warmoth. It's a totally different instrument now...but that's all just personal preference. You might like the stock neck just fine.

 

Quote

 

I was thinking about using my normal guitar for most of the gig but having a Variax for some minor acoustic stuff, sitar parts, open G tuning for stone'ish stuff, open D for slide, etc. So using it for this, would the American made be that worthwhile...?

 

As I said before, an emphatic "No". Buy 4 of the Korean ones instead.

 

 

One other thing to consider before buying anything is this: The current Variax platform is nearly a decade old now... in other words, it's ancient. Yes, the Shuriken and the Standard are slightly newer, but they're the same modeling engine shoved into different bodies (the Standard is just a Pacifica with Variax guts, but I digress). There hasn't been a firmware update of any significance in years on end at this point... it's not being developed anymore. The smart money says that whatever the next generation of Variax is, it'll probably show up sooner than later.... when though, is anybody's guess.

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TOUGH QUESTION (like almost every other one asking for an opinion!!!!!)! I have had limited success with my JTV 89F (Blood Red, NOT "US," but very kewl!). The Guitar itself is quite nice, but for the money, you can get a non-USA built, non-Variax guitar that is much better . . . OR a less expensive equivalent. It really depends on what you want to do with it. Fiddlin' around in the studio with the associated Line 6 Multi-effects unit is a lot of fun, if it's YOUR studio and doesn't cost $200/hr. Performing Live? Have a backup guitar, or have a setup for the mags, just in case. Just my recommend. Get your alternate HELIX settings set up for the JTV mags, or be prep'd to plug a different guitar into your Helix. See, just be prepared. Helix can store LOTS of stuff, so, just do the work and be prepared.

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Don’t jump into USA JTV without some previous experience and understanding of Variax  technology.  Nicely crafted guitars but still….

 

If you’re already set with analog/magnetic tones practically any Variax Gen 1 or 2 will likely suffice as introduction to the technology.  JTV59 my current favorite (very good hum buckers) but I still enjoy many of the original Variax gen 1 models.  I also maintain gen 1 with riser nut for lap/slide needs.  I own 4qty Variax and regularly use them all.  

 

Electric models seem to work well with various pedalboards/amps schemes.  Acoustic models must be DI/XLR full range amplification because they’re essentially microphone captured WAV maps.  

 

An XPS power supply A/B box is often a great addition to smoothly switch acoustic/electric models to either XLR output for acoustic or Hi-Z 1/4” phono for amps/pedalboard.  Of course the VDI cable plays nicely with Line6 amp modelers too.  

 

Good luck….

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What is the difference between 59 and 69 etc and the 59S and 69S and etc.? Which is more recommended? Are they both Korean?

 

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Thanks silverhead. I guess I read the descriptions there too fast to have it sink in. lol 

 

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Own (3) 59's and (3) 69's, and never had a problem.

 

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